8 Homesteading Books for Your Home Library

These editor selections from Hobby Farm Home’s 2012 Good Reading column will be an asset to your hobby-farm bookshelf.

by Dani Yokhna

The Locavore’s Kitchen: A Cook’s Guide to Seasonal Eating and Preserving
by Marilou K. Suszko (Ohio University Press, 2011)

The Locavore’s Kitchen: A Cook’s Guide to Seasonal Eating and PreservingWith more than 200 recipes organized by season, this book will give you inspiration for enjoying local foods year-round. More than a cookbook, The Locavore’s Kitchen spotlights seasonal favorites, such as asparagus, melons and fall greens, as well as local flavors, like maple syrup, grassfed beef or milk. It offers suggestions for choosing the best products, storing them fresh, prepping them for cooking and preserving them for later enjoyment. Each section also includes DIY techniques for making homemade staples—from bread to yogurt, infused vinegars to cheese, and stocks to pie crusts. Get detailed instructions for preserving your harvest with methods, tips, techniques, recipes and resources. Whether cooking food grown in your own garden or from local markets or producers, eating local is the best way to enjoy the flavors of the season.


Art of the Chicken Coop: A Fun and Essential Guide to Housing Your Peeps
by Chris Gleason (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2011)

Art of the Chicken Coop: A Fun and Essential Guide to Housing Your PeepsIt’s no longer enough to simply provide a secure shelter for your brood. Chicken coops are an art form! From chicken condos to chicken tractors and all styles in between, you’ll find a plan that’s just right for your girls in Art of the Chicken Coop. Offering seven unique coop designs appropriate for both large and small flocks as well as three in-depth profiles of experienced chicken-keepers, this book will provide the information you need to shelter your chickens in style. Whether you’re preparing for your first clutch of chicks or you’re an old pro, you’ll find tips, ideas and advice that you can put to work today. Each chapter focuses on a different coop design and is complete with plans, materials list, step-by-step instructions and color photos.


The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn
by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius (Storey Publishing, 2011)

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun YarnTopping out at more than 400 pages, this book is practically an encyclopedia of fiber. Every fiber source is discussed, beginning with sheep and moving through goats, camelids, rabbits, yaks and less-thought-of fiber animals, such as dogs and cats, horses, and musk ox. The book features more than 100 different animal profiles, each of which provides a history of the breed, facts about its fiber, a photo of the animal, and gorgeous photos of the fiber in both raw form and as finished yarn. What really sets this book apart are the photographs, showcasing the qualities and textures of each type of fiber and practically begging you to rub it between your fingers. Extremely informative, beautifully illustrated and efficiently organized, no fiber enthusiast should be without this excellent resource book.

Farmstead Chef
by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist (New Society Publishers, 2011)

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Farmstead ChefAs proprietors of Inn Serendipity, a sustainable bed-and-breakfast powered by solar and wind energy, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirst have learned how to cook and prepare meals for a variety of tastes and preferences and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. While many cookbooks encouraging seasonal, local eating are organized by food or season, Farmstead Chef is organized by meal, beginning with hearty breakfasts and ending with delectable desserts..

The authors’ goal is to encourage readers to eat lower on the food chain by incorporating more fruits and veggies into every meal. While you don’t need to forgo meat altogether, with recipes like Applicious Pancakes, Cream of Carrot Soup, Grecian Leek Pasta and Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake, you won’t even miss it! If you can’t imagine a meatless meal, don’t worry. There are savory suppers like Maple Syrup Marinated Wild Salmon, Italian Sausage Risotto and Asian Chicken Satay. In addition to mouthwatering recipes, each section includes in-depth information about living sustainably and eating locally, including info on gardening, foraging and raising chickens.

The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds
by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough (Storey Publishing, 2011)

The Complete Guide to Saving SeedsIn our world of ever-increasing genetically modified fruits and vegetables, saving and planting heirloom seeds is one of the most important contributions we gardeners can make to future generations. This comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know about saving seeds while saving money and protecting genetic diversity.

The first section of the book provides an overview of how plants produce seeds and offers a great explanation of plant terminology. You’ll learn plant-care techniques; how to collect, care for and store seeds; how to care for seedlings; and even how to breed plants for the small-scale farm or garden. Venturing into the nitty-gritty of seed-saving, with details for specific food crops and ornamentals, four chapters are devoted to vegetables; herbs; flowers; and nuts, fruits and woody ornamentals. Arranged in alphabetical order by plant type, you’ll learn about flowering, isolation requirements, seed collection and cleaning, seed treatment, germination, and transplanting for more than 322 varieties.

Top Pops: 55 All-natural Frozen Treats to Make at Home
by Emily Zaiden (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012)

Top Pops: 55 All-natural Frozen Treats to Make at HomeLittle more is satisfying than enjoying a frozen treat made from farm-fresh ingredients after a hot day in the garden. The frozen desserts that ice-pop maven Emily Zaiden introduces in Top Pops aren’t those of your childhood, when the flavors were limited to “red,” “orange” or “purple.” Discover new favorites: creamy pudding pops, refreshing coffee or tea pops, and colorful fruity pops for exciting and innovative flavor combinations that you can make at home using your farm’s bounty. Tried-and-true kids’ favorites, such as Watermelon Lime or Peaches ’n’ Cream, and options for the over-21 crowd—White Peach Amaretto, for example—ensure everyone in the house is satisfied.

Be sure to check out these must-read chapters: “Flavor Inspirations to Mix and Match,” a chapter offering tips on creating the best ice-pop flavor combos, and the “Seasonal Flavors Chart,” a guide to making the most of fresh, seasonal produce. With this book, I now I have new ways to use my freezer to savor the harvest flavors throughout each season.

The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011)

The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home UsesSurpassing 400 pages in length, The Beekeeper’s Bible is a veritable encyclopedia of beekeeping. On the history of bees alone, you’ll find more than 60 pages, not to mention expansive chapters titled “Understanding the Honey Bee,” “Practical Beekeeping,” “Honey and Other Bee Products,” and “Recipes and Home Crafts.” You’ll learn about the origin of bees, why they sting or swarm, how and where to keep your hives, different kinds of honey, and all the wonderful things you can make with it (hair conditioner, cold cream, perfume, lip balms, varnish and more). The book has a vintage feel with its whimsical design and illustrations, but also contains color photos. It even offers space for notes as well as a Hive Record Template for record-keeping. If honey (or bees) are in your future, you’ll definitely want to make room on your bookshelf for this delightful digest.


The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal: Choosing Abundant Wellness for Your Creatures
by Katherine A. Drovdahl (Katherine A. Drovdahl, 2012)

The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal: Choosing Abundant Wellness for Your CreaturesDon’t let the text-heavy appearance of this herbal companion turn you away from its vast amount of information. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume’s 500-plus pages, but as the title says—this book was intended to be (and is) accessible. With suggestions for an herbal first-aid kit and some quick recipes for juices, poultices, infusions and more, the book delves into individual herbs and how to use them in animal’s various life stages: pregnancy, milking/lactating, old age, et cetera. It also provides information on husbandry and supplementation as well as poisons and parasites. Guides to animals and their various body systems (including endocrine, lymphatic, immune and nervous) and how to treat the problems that might occur in each are also helpful. Every page is brimming with information sure to educate and help you choose a path of wellness for your animals.


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